New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Bihar government to produce complete original records with regard to the remission granted to former MP Anand Mohan, who was serving life term in the 1994 murder case of then Gopalganj District Magistrate G Krishnaiah.
A bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala told advocate Manish Kumar, appearing for the Bihar government, that no further adjournment will be granted in the case and directed him to place the complete records for perusal of the court.
It listed the plea filed by the wife of the slain officer challenging the release of Mohan on August 8.
At the outset, Kumar sought some time to file a reply to the plea.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Uma Krishnaiah, the wife of the slain officer, said the state government has changed the policy retrospectively and released him in the case.
He urged the bench to direct the state to place entire records of criminal antecedents of Mohan and sought the matter to be listed in August.
The bench recorded that counsel for state government and Mohan have appeared before it and said no further adjournments will be granted.
“Original records with regard to remission to respondent-4 (Anand Mohan) by order dated April 10, 2023, be placed before the court”, the bench said, adding that records with regard to criminal antecedents be also placed before it.
Advocate Shoeb Alam appeared for an intervenor, and sought permission to assist the court in the matter.
The bench said, “Don’t politicise the matter. We are on pure legal issue and would not allow any intervention. If we feel there is necessity, we will allow all the concerned at the bar to assist in the matter”.
On May 8, the top court had sought response from the Bihar government on a plea challenging the state government’s decision to prematurely release Mohan.
Mohan was released from the Saharsa jail on April 24 after serving 14 years of imprisonment following an amendment made in Bihar’s prison rules by the state government.
The petitioner has contended that life imprisonment awarded to the gangster-turned-politician meant incarceration for his entire natural course of life and it cannot be mechanically interpreted to last just 14 years.
“Life imprisonment, when awarded as a substitute for death penalty, has to be carried out strictly as directed by the court and would be beyond application of remission,” she said in her petition before the Supreme Court.
Mohan’s name figured in a list of more than 20 prisoners who were ordered to be set free by a notification issued by the state’s law department as they had spent more than 14 years behind the bars.
The remission of his sentence followed an April 10 amendment to the Bihar Prison Manual by the Nitish Kumar government whereby the restriction on early release of those involved in killing of a public servant on duty was done away with.
This, the critics of the state government’s decision claim, was done to facilitate the release of Mohan, a Rajput strongman, who could add heft to the grand alliance led by Nitish Kumar in its fight against the BJP. Several others, including politicians, benefited from the amendment to the state prison rules.
Krishnaiah, who hailed from Telangana, was beaten to death by a mob in 1994 when his vehicle tried to overtake the funeral procession of gangster Chhotan Shukla in Muzaffarpur district.
Mohan, then an MLA, was leading the procession.